· Owed 30 months’ salary arrears
· Record hunger-induced deaths
Staff of Imo Civil Guards, numbering about nine hundred and sixty who have not been paid salary for the past two and half years are lamenting that the Hope Uzodinma administration has turned them to street beggars who now depend on charity for the up keep of themselves, their families and dependents.
Investigation by this reporter indicate that staff of the agency were already working at Imo Orientation Agency (Corps) before the Rochas Okorocha administration came on board.
On assumption of office, he changed the name to Imo Civil Guards and also changed their green and white uniform to what it is presently.
According to our source, they were de-emerged in July 2013 while in February 2014, the recruits were trained at ICAPS, along Egbu road.”
A staff of the outfit who does not want his name in print said, “When Rochas Okorocha assumed office as governor of the state, he was paying us. But when Chief Emeka Ihedioha came on board, he promised to pay our salaries but did not before he was sacked.
“We were only paid May and June 2019 salaries in August same year. We have not been paid a kobo again since then despite series of verification exercises conducted at different times by the former commissioner for Transport, Barr Rex Anunobi (Sokom), the Governor’s SSA, (Transport), Hon Savior Okiro, among others.”
The source who said he has worked with the outfit for 18 years revealed that the wage bill of the outfit is N25, 100,000 monthly, regretted that about 11 of their staff had died in the past few months as a result of hunger and lack of funds to access medication when they are sick. Some of the deceased members according to him are;Oliver Akuwuji, Uche Longinus, Chinyere Nwogu, Nwosu Amarachi and Eke Charles.
Continuing, he said, “Governor Uzodinma in a bid to tell us that we are no longer relevant sent away all our personnel who were deployed to Government House without explanation. He has also not bothered to ask how we have been surviving with our families and dependents for the past 21/2 years without salary.
The embattled and pauperized staff of Imo Civil Guards who former Governor Okorocha changed their name from Imo Orientation Officers and adopted as the State’s Internal Security outfit pleaded with Governor Uzodinma to pay them their salaries to enable them take care of their families knowing that government is a continuum.
Most Imolites who expressed concern about the menace constituted by the civil guards who desperately and embarrassingly beg commuters for money along the roads called on the state government to as a matter of urgency pay the distraught personnel their salaries to put a stop to the show of shame which portrays the state and her citizens in very bad light “as they tell anybody who cares to listen why they have resorted to begging as a means of survival.”